Sketchup Cube Test

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Note: Sketchup is a free and simple 3D design program that you could learn in 2 hours. It works in Mac, Windows, and Linux under Wine. Download Sketchup and see Sketchup Tutorial 1 and Sketchup Tutorial 2 to get up to speed in all basic skills necessary to contribute to the OSE Design Sprints. You can learn these skills in 2 hours by doing the exercises shown. For Sketchup Tutorial 1 - please read further below and document your experience with this exercise below.


Gary De Mercurio, OSE Product Lead, prepared a Lesson 1 for using Sketchup. It involves drawing a 3 dimensional cube made of hollow box beam using XYZ Space Frame Construction. This type of construction is typical for building frames within the Tractor Construction Set.

Here is the Sketchup file:


File:2Foot Box Design.skp

Here is an 11 minute instructional for how to build this - starting from 0 knowledge of Sketchup. To do the test, first Download Sketchup. It takes under an hour to learn to build the cube.

Review and Test: Lesson 1

Lesson 1 is proof that a novice can learn basic functionality in Sketchup in one hour.

What is the world record for building such a cube made from hollow box beam in Sketchup? Gary claims that he can do it in 5 minutes - by drawing edges. It appears that it could be drawn even more quickly if the member could be build, copied, and matched - but matching appears quite difficult.

We welcome a demonstration of how a single member can be built -> copied -> and rotated to build a cube even faster. Further, how does one extend the cube to longer dimensions?

Results of completing Lesson 1 by First Time Users


Marcin completed the test assignment in 42 minutes as a first time user, excluding hollowing out of latter cube members. Learnings: lesson appears to be sufficient to complete the assignment. The only trouble spot for me was thinking that in order to input a dimension, I have to mouse over to the text box. I stopped at minute 9 as I did not need any further schooling to complete the assignment. Apparently, it took Gary 18 minutes to generate the cube for the tutorial, which he edited down to the 11 minute tutorial.




Ian Midgley

After watching the video and tinkering around in Sketchup for the first time for a half hour or so I was able to build this cube in 35 minutes. I made a few mistakes along the way and had to delete and restart some tubes.

Things I learned through this process:

It is important to be looking at the horizontal lines you are drawing at roughly a 45 degree to have a good perspective.

It is necessary to delete unwanted panels when you connect lines across the box.

It took me a while to discover that i could start a line and then take my hand off the mouse entirely to punch in the length. - same happened to Marcin.





My learning process: As a novice user of design programs, I watched the Youtube tutorials that are linked through the Sketchup startup page. I practiced the techniques that were highlighted, which provided a better working knowledge to watch the OSE tutorial. I completed the Cube test in 55 minutes.

Things I had difficulty with: 1) It took me approximately 10 minutes to practice the "click and release" functionality...for some reason, I wanted to hold through the stroke, then release. 2) The Orbit feature was difficult at first, but with some practice, I easily adapted to it.

Lessons learned: 1) You must have a mouse to use this application. The touch pad on a laptop was insufficient. 2) Ensure you are using the correct template--Sketchup's tutorials utilize a different template than what is required for the cube. 3) The program auto-creates unwanted panels--ensure you are deleting these panels as they are created, otherwise you will lose perspective. 4) There is a method to efficiently creating lines where the auto features will help you complete steps faster. This is a skill that is learned with practice, and the cube exercise is a great tutorial to facilitate a greater understanding of this process.

My product: Audrey'sCube.png


It took me about 45 minutes to finish the box. I had to watch the tutorial and rewind several times to understand how to build the box. This was my first "design" with SketchUp. The lessons I learned through the box design were:

  • It is important to notice where the lines are being drawn; are the lines drawn on the surface or in space?
  • Draw reference lines to help you understand where your endpoints will be. You can delete those lines later.Box.jpg


I watched the tutorials a few weeks ago, and today I finished the cube in about 35 minutes with a touch-pad mouse. Adding the dimension labels took another few minutes. I imagine it will be easier with an external mouse and roller wheel. I used Inventor a few years ago, and that knowledge probably helped, and I'll say that SketchUp is easier and less frustrating than Inventor.

Warner SketchUp Quiz.jpg





It took me around 40 minutes. I'm used to other tools that may have took less time like arrays, in this case. I'm amazed by the simplicity of SketchUp Cubenl.png


Ose sku test.png


  • unit: imperial, inch
  • tube: 4,4,24 in (x12) # thickness: 0.5 in # via lucas

watching time: 11:56

  • i have to admit i have only watched the first 3mn and after that, collect requirement by looking other drawing

doing time:

  • understand the imperial si: 10mn (no kidding)
  • understand the model: some mn (no drawing)
  • draw the model: 5mn (3mn drawing, 2mn quoting, coloring)

The sketchup file


Nate Sketchup Test


  • download and install Sketchup: 30 min
  • watch first tutorial: 12 min
  • draw model using Ubuntu/Wine: 45 min
  • docs and screenshots: 10 min


  • stupid american unit system, note added to Sketch_Up_Tutorial#Tutorial_.231
  • use faster graphics card, or use windows (Ubuntu 12.04 / Wine 1.4 / onboard graphics card leads to lagging Sketchup; it's no fun to work with 2 fps)


The Cube Test from Seth, a 10-year old boy:

Seth Sketchup Test

It took Seth about 3 hours to complete in total, but he stopped multiple times to join in other activities (the movies, swimming, etc)

Seth's Feedback:

  • Sometimes the tutorial moved very quickly; for instance when the tutorial went over how to measure
  • Sketchup is very cool
  • Sometimes the Sketchup tool doesn't work like it is supposed to (for instance, when using the green dot to create an alignment), but overall it is AWESOME

Importing and Exporting from Sketchup